I hope to lead a manufacturing revolution that uses 3D printing technology to produce products in a more efficient and economical way. This Silicon Valley, California-based startup recently received $12.5 million in funding to help achieve this goal and showcased impressive proof-of-concept products to help demonstrate its capabilities. This product is a carbon fiber bicycle frame, which allows us to see the future of the bicycle industry.
According to professionals, its bicycle frame is the first 3D printed using carbon fiber. Use 3D printer technology, with customized robotic arms and web-based software to create products made from proprietary raw materials. Robot arms can print shapes in a single pass using thermoplastic materials, which are melted into a bundle of carbon fibers to help hold everything together. The end result is a bicycle frame that sells for about $300, which is much lower than most bicycle manufacturers pay.
When most bicycle companies start to make a new carbon fiber frame for their latest bicycle, they must first create a mold for the frame. The cost of this type of mold is usually between $60,000 to $100,000, depending on many variables. Once the mold is manufactured, the workers will add some carbon fiber to the mold and combine it with the resin. Then put the mold in an industrial oven, put the resin in the carbon, and glue everything together. The whole process took a lot of time and considerable labor intensiveness, making the carbon fiber bicycle frame very light but expensive. The company said it can expand its manufacturing process for use in a number of different projects. Although the carbon fiber frame can show the capabilities of the company's hardware and software, it is reported that it can also manufacture products as large as an airplane body. It can also print parts for space vehicles and other complex machines.